Dual enrollment’ to take new direction in Fayette

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A new kind of dual enrollment comes to a Fayette school campus this year. Instead of a college path, students will be offered vocational school training while still taking high school courses.

The Fayette County School System will soon be opening the Center of Innovation (COI) at the former Fayetteville Intermediate School (FIS) on Hood Avenue in Fayetteville. A draft version of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Southern Crescent Technical College for a dual enrollment high school program at the school was discussed at the July 20 meeting of the Fayette County Board of Education.

Planned for opening when school begins in August, the MOU states that Southern Crescent intends to offer educational programs to Fayette high school students in a dual-enrollment initiative on the FIS campus.

Superintendent Jody Barrow told board members a number of details are in process of being worked out.

The draft agreement currently available is a boiler plate agreement with little or no cost to the school system, Barrow said.

“I think the opportunity is worth any bumps we might experience,” Barrow said.

Health science offerings along with culinary arts will be the focus as the program gets off the ground. Dual enrollment courses in health science will include certified nursing assistant (CNA), emergency medical responder and sports medicine. Board members were told that Piedmont Fayette Hospital will be providing some of the equipment needed, such as a number of patient beds.

A number of culinary arts classes will also be taught at Sandy Creek High School.

A diagram of the building shows a half-dozen classrooms for use in the allied health field and, for culinary arts, the use of the kitchen and one classroom. It was noted that Southern Crescent will provide culinary arts staff at Sandy Creek.

Indicative of a new program, board members were told that student enrollment for the various course offerings is a work in progress.

Barrow said more information on the new center will be forthcoming. That information will include student transportation issues.

Deputy Superintendent Sam Sweat during the discussion said locating the center at FIS is not necessarily permanent since FIS may have to be re-opened at some point in the future.

Board Chairman Marion Key at that point noted that Fayette County High School was built so the Lafayette Eduction Center could be used for dual enrollment purposes. The board during the Great Recession voted to close four schools due to falling enrollment and to save money, yet Fayette Middle School, and now FIS, are being repurposed, she said. Key, too, questioned if one or both of those schools might need to be re-opened in the future.

Her statement received no response from other board members.

According to the MOU, Southern Crescent will be invoiced for utility costs and replaceable items such as light bulbs on the basis of a negotiated fee structure. Additionally, any assisted technical support by the school system that is required by Southern Crescent on an ad hoc basis will be subject to a fee.

The MOU is renewable annually and indefinitely, the agreement states.

A breakdown of equipment uses shows that the school system and Southern Crescent will each be responsible for their respective equipment.

Both the school system and Southern Crescent will have a security officer on-site, with Southern Crescent providing a full-time employee and the school system providing a school resource officer who will “walk through the halls once in the morning and once in the afternoon to make sure students and staff see him at the school.”

The MOU states that access to the school using keys, access codes and key fobs for students to enter via access control will be provided by the school system.

The MOU also states that Southern Crescent also “plans to designate part of (the school) in support of the college’s adult literacy initiative.”